Friday, 31 January 2014

This Moment

This moment -  A Friday ritual.  A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week.  Joining with Soulmama 

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Fennel & Coconut Tart

Cutting rosemary from the garden for the tart in my lovely apron - thank you Santa!
Much to my dismay I received no cookbooks from Santa! I myself gave quite a few as gifts and wish I had scrutinised each one more thoroughly before they were wrapped and tied with a bow! Or even kept one or two for myself (I have succumbed to that before now). One stray however did not arrive until after Christmas (in fact I was starting to wonder if it would arrive at all).  Then yesterday the postman left me a card to pick up a parcel at the post office and yes I breathed a sigh of relief that my poor daughter in law would now receive her present. But before the wrapping paper engulfed it I randomly opened it (as one does) to see if it was up to expectations and suitability (vegetarian), and was happy that it complied on both counts especially when it revealed this simple tart first up.
I have to admit I am a relative newcomer to the qualities of fennel.  I did not grow up with it in my cuisine and on first tasting did not warm to its aniseed flavour.  It has grown on me over the years and I think I have come to quite like it now.

This tart has the unexpected qualities of being gluten and dairy free

Tart Case
65g (1/2 cup rice flour)
45g (1/3 cup almond flour)
2 tablespoons potato or tapioca or cornflour
1/2 teaspoon seas salt
3 tablespoons coconut oil or Ghee
3 tablespoons iced water

120ml (1/2 cup) coconut milk
2 eggs beaten
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced

Makes 1 large 20cm (8in) tart or 4 small 10cm (4in)tarts

Tart Case, sift together the flours, starch and salt in a bowl.
Add coconut oil and iced water and use hand to work the dry ingredients towards the centre until a dough forms.  If it feels crumbly add a little more water (drop by drop). 
Gather into a ball wrap in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for at least 30mins.
Filling - whisk the coconut milk, eggs, nutmeg, rosemary, salt and pepper in a bowl until combined.
Preheat oven 190C (375F Gas 5)
Roll out pastry lightly and press into a tart tin or plate (gave up on the rolling and just pressed it).
Trim the edges and prick bottom to prevent rising as it bakes.
Pour the coconut/egg mix into the tart case and place fennel slices on top.  Cook in the middle of the oven for about 35 mins or until the tart is golden and crisp and the egg mix has set.
Dough can be made a day ahead of time if need be.

Joining in with Dom's Belleau Kitchen Random Recipes for January (by the skin of my teeth).
Hope I get to taste more of these eclectic recipes from The Green Kitchen when my daughter-in-law cooks them.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Australia Day 2014 Pavlova

I am happy to say celebrating Australia Day has gained momentum over the years, with BBQs and fireworks being the order of the day.  So in "True Blue" style we gathered a few friends at home and made a day of it. Of course lamb was high on the menu - lamb burgers (see recipe here) with sour cream dressing and a coupled of roasts, as well as australian cheeses from King Island and meat pies.  But nothing quite finishes the afternoon like a lovely piece of pavlova, and Mark's pav was to die for. He out-did himself this year …have a look at this little (well not so little) beauty.

Just managed to take this photo before it was devoured!
He humbly tells us "its just a Stephanie Alexander recipe" but he has this down to a fine art. A lovely  crisp shell and beautifully soft and gooy on the inside. See Stephanie's recipe here

The rolled shoulders of lamb were generously smothered in Maggie Beers Quince Glaze that produced a lovely sweet crust.

But of course good company is the most important.

Hope you had a great Australia Day wherever you celebrated.
See Australia Day 2013 here

Friday, 24 January 2014

Stir Fried Chicken with Cashews

Kylie Kwong gets a fair run in our house.  By that I mean her book is forever down off the bookshelf.  If you have all the ingredients in your pantry (which I do - one whole shelf is fully stocked with asian goodies) the rest is simple. Preparation is most important in all her recipes so it pays to read before you start! The cooking is so quick so you need to have everything measured and chopped before you start. This serves 4 as a main or 6 as part of a banquet. This is a virtual dinner I am cooking and sending to my sister for her birthday. Happy Birthday Jen!

2 tablespoons of shao hsing wine (or dry sherry)
2 tablespoons of cornflour (cornstarch)
1 tablespoon cold water
1 teaspoon sea salt

Main dish
800g chicken thigh fillets
1 medium sized cucumber
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup unsalted roasted cashew nuts
6 cloves of garlic ( which seems like a lot I used 3 very large cloves) finely diced
2 tablespoons shao hsing wine (or dry sherry)
2 teaspoons of sea salt
3/4 cup finely sliced spring onions

(this can be quiet salty so reduce the amount of salt by half or to your taste but it will need a certain amount of salt to balance the dish so don't forget to taste before serving)

What to do…
Combine the Marinade ingredients into a mixing bowl and mix to a smooth paste.
Cut chicken into bite sized pieces and mix thoroughly into marinade, cover and leave in the fridge for 30 minutes. 

Cut the cucumber in half length ways and scoop out the centre seeds with a teaspoon. 
Place cucumber cut side down on the board and slice thinly and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a wok until it shimmers add half chicken mixture and quickly stir fry for 1 minute.
Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside and do the same with the remaining chicken.

Pour into the wok the rest of the oil and stir fry nuts and garlic over a medium heat (ensure the garlic does not burn by stirring constantly). 
Cook for 30 seconds then add the  chicken.
Increase the heat
Pour in wine and cook for 30 seconds
Add salt and cook until chicken is cooked through or lightly browned
Add cucumber and most of the spring onion (reserving some for garnish)
Stir through for 10 seconds.
Arrange in a dish sprinkle with spring onions.
Serve with rice. For all you chicken lovers out there looking for a yummy stir-fry, do yourself a favour, try this. Yumo! 

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Hawaiian Salad

With Melbourne temperatures in the 40+C for the fourth day in a row all you feel like eating is a salad.  But sometimes that could get a bit boring until you take the trouble to make a Hawaiian Salad.  Simple layering of ingredients and  the tropical aspect of banana and pineapple, a sprinkling of currents, a drizzle of homemade dressing and a grind of pepper makes this salad so delicious.

Ingredients layered in this order per person
1 handful of finely shredded iceberg lettuce
1 handful of grated carrot
1 handful of grated cheddar cheese
sprinkle with currants
1 tomato chopped or sliced
1/2 sliced banana
topped with a slice of pineapple
Drizzle with dressing (preferable homemade classic )
Grind some pepper and voila!
A low carb, vegetarian summer salad.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Cake in a Cup Update

In my attempt to get back to  blogging this year and a promise to upload my cooking on a more regularly basis I thought I would share an update on how my Cake in a Cup Christmas present was received.  My next door neighbour (granddaughter No.8) made me proud.

 She followed the instructions perfectly

 Yum Yum!